Vietnam Celebrates 40-Year Anniversary Of Paris Peace Accords

Category: Politics / Jan 25, 2013 11:53AM EDT
Vietnam on Friday (January 25) marked 40 years since the Paris Peace Accords, which ended decades of U.S. military involvement and brought a halt to fighting between the North and South. An exhibition in Hanoi commemorated the event showing photographs from that period. Director of the Fund For Reconciliation and Development, John Macauliff, recalled his brother who served in the U.S. army. "My brother was in the army. He was in Cam Ranh Bay. He went into the army opposed to the war. He left the army opposed to the war, and that was true for many many American military people. Public opinion in the U.S. was against the war and that was one of the factors that forced the U.S. to agree in Paris to things that it did not want to agree to," he said. At a government ceremony, Vietnam's first female foreign minister Nguyen Thi Binh, a communist leader who negotiated at the Paris Peace Accords on behalf of the Vietcong, was given a medal. "The U.S. brought their troops to Vietnam, waging an invasive war, then the U.S. should withdraw unconditionally out of Vietnam. Our unchanged goal is an independent and unified motherland.Vietnam is one. When an enemy invades Vietnam, any Vietnamese, even if they are from the South or the North, have the right and responsibility to stand up and fight," she said. Talks to end the U.S.-Vietnam war started in 1968, with the U.S. delegation hopeful of reaching a quick deal. Instead, negotiations dragged on for five years, during which the war escalated. The communists, determined to reunify Vietnam, were ready to bide their time while U.S. leaders were weakened by a domestic anti-war movement and cut troop numbers year-by-year, reducing their diplomatic clout. The Vietnam War resulted in the deaths of more than 58,000 U.S. troops and approximately 3 million Vietnamese. - Reuters